Peter Farnham (pfarnham@ASBMB.FASEB.ORG)
Thu, 27 Jul 1995 11:03:26 EST
A few comments on discipline, and a solicitation for comment on a
couple of specific problems.
1. Unwillingness to help: let the boys work it out. This can be
handled by setting up a duty roster. If a kid refuses to do what is
called for on the duty roster, step in as SM--if asked. At
Lenhok'sin, however, my crew chief did not want to set up a duty
roster, saying that everyone hates whoever makes it out. I told him
that if everyone is upset that's an indication that it's fair, but he
still didn't want to do it, instead preferring to rely on volunteers.
Hey, he was the crew chief, and I didn't think I should second-guess
2. Bullying: This happened on my recent Lenhok'sin trip; I caught a
rather muscular scout in my group deliberately trying to intimidate a
couple of younger and smaller boys in another crew camped at our same
outpost, apparently for no other reason than his own amusement. I put
a stop to it immediately and sternly, needless to say. This was not a
job for the crew chief.
3. Adult/youth policing: It depends on what's involved. For serious
(i.e., health and safety) problems, the adults should step in at once
if they see it going on. For others, leave it to the scouts unless
asked to step in.
4. When to send a boy home: I'd send a boy home for any physical
violence, or for open defiance. A repeated health/safety violation
would merit a phonecall home after one stern warning.
5. Punishments: I handled cub infractions at camp last summer with
an immediate and extra turn as waiter at the next meal, which worked
amazingly well--I only had to use it a couple of times. Sending a kid
home is the ultimate sanction, it seems to me.
As for specific problems--what about foul language and youth smoking?
I had a problem at Lenhok'sin with a couple of older scouts regarding
these matters. I admonished them so much about the language that I
must have sounded like a prude about it, although after my three years
in the infantry, they said nothing I hadn't heard before. Still, these
were boy scouts, not Vietnam-era grunts, and I was concerned about it.
I will say that I did not consider the offense serious enough to send
them home (maybe I should have?). Anyway, I probably could have
handled the matter better by punishing the offense in some way, and
I'm wondering what you folks out there have done in similar
situations. Any ideas?
As far as cigarette smoking goes, we've talked about this issue vis a
vis adult smoking, and I'm frankly not interested in getting into it s
again. Scout policy is clear: if you (as an adult) must smoke, do it
out of the presence of the youths.
But what about youth smoking? We haven't talked about that. Goshen
camp policy is no youth smoking, according to one of the Lenhok'sin
staff I spoke with. Also, possession or purchase of tobacco products
by anyone under the age of 18 is illegal in Virginia. However,
smoking is cool again among a lot of young people; I started smoking
as a teenager myself and know how tempting it is (I quit smoking 14
The scouts knew I had prohibited youth smoking on the trip, but a
couple of them were sneaking them anyway (I didn't actually catch them
at it--they were pretty discreet--but I knew). How do you keep scouts
from doing it?
Keep in mind that I'm on a learning curve here as an adult leader
myself, so I'm no doubt overlooking something obvious. Anyway, your
thoughts or comments on these matters would be appreciated.
SM, Troop 113
GW District, NCAC
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City